One of the reasons I love being a digital marketer and working with our customers is that the marketing ecosystem constantly evolves. There is always some new challenge, technology, or trend that pushes marketers to remain educated and flexible. As my team travels the globe to speak with marketers, one thing that remains consistent across all marketing teams is the desire to improve their level of marketing maturity. From the entry-level to the highly transformative marketer, there exists a driving force to continuously get better and become a more mature marketer. Each marketer’s maturity level is unique, yet there are core competencies that define each maturity level across all marketers.
The most basic level of marketing maturity is called Transactional Marketing. Transactional marketing is focused on driving a transaction (or conversion). Marketers will deploy a marketing solution and use it for its most basic purpose of scaling the sending of emails to drive site traffic. The communications are more batch and blast-like where the tool is used like a firehose for sending email. We see that marketing becomes routine and the marketer repeats the same techniques, such as sending promotional emails to drive customers to the site, sending purchase confirmations with order details, minimal personalization with tokens, and low-level tracking of behaviors for reporting purposes. Yes, there is value in those techniques, but they are purely foundational when it comes to marketing maturity.
As marketers build upon those foundational components, they begin to realize the need for becoming more responsive to their customers. By leveraging the efficiency and scale of their marketing automation platform, marketers can enable quick wins with limited effort. Achieving Responsive Marketing is when marketers begin to listen and react to customer behaviors across channels; creating a consistent experience across email, website, and mobile, while leveraging customer profile and digital behaviors to continuously optimize the experience. Marketers will begin to leverage strategies such as A/B testing, behavioral retargeting, Send Time Optimization, and begin utilizing multi-stage and multi-channel campaigns (introducing SMS or Push messaging for example). Segmentation becomes an important focus as the marketer attempts to move from sending one campaign to many customers to creating more personalized campaigns that go out to smaller, more targeted audiences. The goal is to build a relationship between the brand and the customer, which leads us to the next level of marketing maturity.
The third level of marketing maturity focuses on recognizing the value of a customer relationship. A marketer begins to deepen their understanding and relationship with the customer by introducing AI-driven decision making to fill in data gaps and perform data driven events. Utilizing a blend of first and third-party data, the marketer can perform intelligent hyper-personalization and engage with customers across all digital channels inclusive of email, SMS, mobile push, social, display ads, and web. Machine learning facilitates advanced segmentation, and Adaptive Intelligence drives intelligent orchestration and next best actions within this maturity level. For marketers who have matured to this level of relationship building, the business sees tremendous value with benefits like an increase in repeat purchasers, improved customer satisfaction, and increased market share and revenue. To achieve this level of sophistication, a marketer must evolve through the various phases continuously learning, building, and optimizing as they go in order to achieve improved benefits.
The ultimate level of marketing maturity extends beyond the realm of traditional marketing to a place where the customer experience is at the heart of every business decision. This level, called Experience Marketing, is focused on delivering a unified brand experience across all customer touchpoints. Yes, Marketing is still at the core but other pillars of the customer experience such as sales, services, commerce, loyalty, and the like, are equally important. The ability to perform this level of customer engagement can only be done when data intelligence is driving all decision-making across customer touchpoints; utilizing data to build a comprehensive customer profile and delivering a relevant, consistent, and timely experience at every touchpoint. Businesses that achieve this level of marketing sophistication are able to increase customer acquisition and reduce customer churn, while maximizing the lifetime value of their customers.
The path to marketing maturity is different for all marketers and, at many times, ebbs and flows between maturity levels. No matter where you are starting along the maturity path, the goal should be to grow your maturity by adapting to align with customer needs. It’s those marketers who continuously test, optimize, and grow that generate the biggest value for their businesses.
Wondering what your level of marketing maturity is? Visit Oracle CX Marketing to look at our thought leadership and marketing tools to assess your level of marketing maturity.